Cheap Grace or a Cheap Response?

November 13, 2016

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The number one objection to grace says if you give people a big grace they will do whatever they want.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship famously called this cheap grace.

I do not believe any grace is cheap since it cost Jesus everything.

I would rather argue the cheapening of grace comes not in it’s cost, but in our response to the gift we have been given. After all, Bonhoeffer and anyone speaking against a cheap grace is not referring to the price Jesus paid.

They are speaking of our response having received this amazing grace.

We don’t want people to think they can do whatever they want without consequence.

Grace is never without consequence.

Paul addressed this in Romans 6:1-2. After proclaiming an enormous grace, he knew the natural tendency of people to see what they can get away with.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it”

By no means sounds very formal, British even!

A more accurate translation would be “God Forbid!”

“God Forbid” we look into the enormity of grace and our response is to ask how much sin we can get away with!

Notice something. What is missing in what Paul says.

He never says, “This is impossible.”

Of course it is possible to abuse grace, but why would we want to?

Before we object too loudly, let me encourage us all to do something.

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Look in the mirror.

You and I abuse the grace of God every single day as we continue to sin.

Sure we might not do the BIG ones or the ones which our nation says are particularly heinous.

Each and every time we sin, we do not treat the gift of grace in a manner worthy of respect.

It is fully possible to have a cheap response to grace. We know this because we often find ourselves responded this way.

Every lie, every arrogant thought, and each critical word.

There is no need to change grace because people might abuse it.

We abuse it every day.

We must change our response.

We don’t want to sin more because we have grace, rather we should sin less.

And when we do fall, it should not be something we brush off lightly. Rather it should hurt even more knowing God has already given us grace.

Grace is not an excuse to sin but our best reason not to sin.

There is no cheap grace.

Only cheap responses.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God